One of our clients with multiple retail locations recently asked us about Vanity URL's and whether or not it made sense to have them for each of their stores. They further questioned whether or not they should give each location their own domain. This line of questioning lead into a discussion about the differences between Vanity Domain's, Vanity URL's, and domain changes which got us to thinking, why don't we blog about it?!
This question was originally posed to our resident SEO Jedi, Mr. DJ Shirley - so we've not-so-secretly stolen his words and fused them into this blog post which we're actually giving him full credit for. And by the way, we're totally serious about his SEO Jedi title... he is a master of his craft.
Take it away, DJ!
The core function of a vanity URL is meant to help simplify a complicated url. The underlying goal is to help the potential visitors remember said page/url. These are typically used on a website that have complicated url structures. In short, the vanity url simplifies the url to help users remember, access, and share your business with ease.
Vanity URL - www.example.com/stores
- will forward to...
Original URL - www.example.com/index/files/stores.php
A Vanity Domain is the same concept as a Vanity URL except for the fact that the entire vanity domain forwards to the original domain. Vanity domains are commonly used for tracking purposes when it comes to traditional marketing efforts/collateral such as print, video or radio ads. We'll use Digitopia as an example - if we were to create a print ad that displays a website vanity domain of let's say, Digitopia.AgencyGrow.com on the actual print ad. This vanity domain (Digitopia.AgencyGrow.com) when accessed will then automatically forward the users to Digitopia.com; this would allow us to track number of website visitors that were generated from that specific print ad.
Vanity Domain - www.Digitopia.AgencyGrow.com
- will forward to...
Original Domain - www.Digitopia.Agency.com
Changing the main domain for any brand or business is an extensive undertaking with a lot of factors to consider. In short, it's not something that should be done hastily or taken lightly. If you're seriously considering changing the domain entirely, it is highly recommend that you hire a qualified digital marketing/SEO expert to conduct a review then discuss and outline the process, timeline, workload and overall risk vs. reward involved in changing the main domain.
The short answer is, no. We would not be able to rank for the above example domain (i.e.Digitopia.AgencyGrow.com) unless we actually changed the primary domain toDigitopia.AgencyGrow.com.
It's easy to get carried away with the idea of creating Vanity URL's and Vanity Domains, but our advice is to proceed with caution and determine your strategy. If you decide to use them for any reason ask yourself/your business what your intention is for utilizing them within your marketing efforts. If you have a really long URL pointing to a specific page on your website that could use some simplification for a stronger commit to memory then it's probably worth it. If you've created a Google+ page then we highly suggest claiming a vanity URL that keeps your brand name front of mind that is simple and easy to remember. A good example of the "why?" here is that Google+ URL's that haven't been claimed tend to be a really long string of random numbers. So if you plan to place that URL on a business card or other piece of collateral not only will a vanity URL fit better within the design, but it'll be easier to remember.
Digitopia is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today!